A man who appeared before Longford Circuit Court last week charged in connection with an aggravated burglary will receive a suspended prison sentence if the Probation Report ordered by the presiding judge is favourable.
Anthony McEnteggart (31), 4 Chapel Lane Apartments, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson charged with burglary at the home of a female at Abhainn Glas, Edgeworthstown on April 3, 2015.
He was further charged with assaulting the woman’s brother in Edgeworthstown two days later, on April 5, 2015.
Outlining the case to the court, Counsel for the State, Mr Desmond Dockery BL said that on the date in question a lady was alone in her house at 46 Abhainn Glas, Edgeworthstown when she was awoken by a man standing over her in her bedroom.
“Mr McEnteggart had entered the house by breaking a window and the lady woke to find him in her room,” said Counsel before pointing out that the accused subsequently left the room and made good his escape.
“The next morning, gardaí had occasion to search an address on the other side of the street in relation to an unconnected matter and there they discovered items of clothing in the washing machine.
“There was a pair of runners, top and bottoms just after finishing a washing cycle and fragments of glass were discovered on the soles of the shoes,” Mr Dockery BL continued.
“The fragments of glass were sent for analysis and they matched the glass from the window that had been broken at the lady’s home earlier.
“The accused was arrested and questioned in relation to the matter and he denied that the fragments of glass had come from the window of the lady’s house.”
The court was then told that a day or two later the lady’s brother Marius arrived in Ireland to stay with her for a time because she was afraid to be alone.
A number of people gathered at the woman’s home where her brother was visiting and during the course of the evening a row broke out between a group of individuals.
Marius, the court was told, decided to leave the house and bring the dog for a walk.
However, not long after he set out for the walk, Marius encountered the accused.
“Mr McEnteggart accused the lady’s brother of waking his baby and told him ‘he was in trouble now’ as a result of that.
“When a group of Mr McEnteggart’s friends arrived soon after that, they assaulted the man with a bicycle,” Counsel for the State added.
“The man was seriously injured during the altercation and was firstly treated for an injured leg at the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar and then at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.”
The court was then told that gardaí subsequently arrested the accused on suspicion of violent disorder on April 17.
“During the course of his detention, an interview was conducted with him and he made no admissions, nor did he make any effort to answer the Gardaí's questions,” continued Counsel.
“As the interview progressed, he did answer some questions.”
The court then heard that the accused told the Gardaí that Marius woke up his child and he subsequently went outside to him and told him to f**k off out of his driveway.
He said that Marius came out of his sister’s house carrying a weapon and tripped.
When he fell, the accused told the Gardaí Marius injured himself with whatever it was he had been carrying.
Meanwhile, a medical report in respect of the injured party was submitted to the court.
The court heard that Marius had sustained blunt trauma from a bicycle and from multiple kicks.
“He was subsequently treated for soft tissue injuries and bruised ribs,” confirmed Mr Dockery BL.
The court was then told that the accused had a significant history of previous convictions and held 45 in total.
Those convictions, the court heard, included burglary, unlawful possession of drugs, public order offences, road traffic matters, theft, handling stolen property and possession of a knife.
“He was on station bail at the time of the offences before the court,” Garda Wendy Courtney, Edgeworthstown Garda Station added.
“He has two children aged six years and six months old and was resident in Edgeworthstown for a time.
“He is now living in Drogheda.”
A victim impact statement from the 27-year-old lady whose home the defendant burgled was then read into the court record.
She said that two years ago she resided at Abhainn Glas in Edgeworthstown and that in April 2015 her home was burgled by a man who came into her bedroom and woke her from her sleep.
“I was terrified,” she added.
“I did not feel safe after that.”
The lady went on to say that her brother subsequently came to stay with her because she was afraid, and then he got injured.
“I had to move from my home and into another house nearby because I just did not feel safe anymore,” she said.
“I was worried and afraid and then I left Edgeworthstown altogether.”
The court went on to hear that the woman also left her job shortly after the incident and is now afraid to stay on her own.
The accused’s girlfriend Catriona Smith then provided direct evidence to the court.
She told Judge Johnson that Mr McEnteggart was a great father and she had known him for the last four years.
“When I first went out with him, he wasn’t a nice person,” she confirmed but then added that now he was a different man.
“He takes no drink or drugs now and is a brilliant father to both his sons.”
In mitigation, Counsel for the accused Mr Shane Geraghty BL said that his client was extremely apologetic over what had happened.
“The only positive spin I can put on this is that when the lady grabbed Mr McEnteggart’s hand when he was in her bedroom, he left the room and then the house,” added Mr Geraghty.
“He hasn’t come to the attention of the courts recently and I really believe that he has turned a corner.
“He is now drug and alcohol free and is not even smoking.”
Meanwhile, the court heard that the accused had €900 in compensation with him for the injured parties.”
The accused then provided direct evidence to the court.
He said he had no excuse for what he had done and he was “sorry”.
“If I could turn back time, I would; if I hadn’t been doing drink and drugs at the time I wouldn’t be here in court,” he added.
“I’m sorry and remorseful for what happened to Marius and I hope that the lady can move on with her life.
“I am working now as well - three days a week as a blocklayer.”
Judge Keenan Johnson then deliberated on the matter.
He said the accused had pleaded guilty to “very serious” charges which occurred when clearly it was obvious he was under the influence of drugs and drink.
“Mr McEnteggart’s life was very much out of control at the time and I think that he realises that now,” added the Judge.
“It is clear from the victim impact statement that the lady was traumatised to such an extent that she left her job and moved out of Edgeworthstown.
“Burglary is a very serious offence and the fact that he went into the victim’s bedroom is most serious.”
The Judge said that he wanted an up to date Probation Report furnished to him as soon as possible and he adjourned proceedings to Portlaoise Circuit Court on June 28 next.
Before concluding matters, Judge Johnson pointed out that if the Probation Report was positive, he would dispose of the matter by way of a suspended sentence - five years, suspended for five years - and €5,000 in compensation payable to the lady’s brother.